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August 29, 2014, 6:13 pm

Americans still wary of Syrian intervention

President Barack Obama and Congress should listen to voters who oppose military intervention in Syria’s two-year civil war.

A new Pew Research Center poll shows that a majority of Americans oppose the United States and its allies arming anti-government groups in Syria.

According to the poll released last month, 70 percent said they oppose sending military aid and arms to rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad and 20 percent said they favor it.

Sixty percent said rebels may be no better than the Assad regime. After the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans are right to be wary of entering another war. Sixty-eight percent said the United States is too overcommitted to become involved in another conflict and 27 percent disagree.

The Pew poll was released the same day that a Gallup poll report indicated a majority of Americans don’t approve of the Obama administration’s recent decision to direct military aid to Syrian rebels.

The Pew poll is consistent with a Fox News poll released in May which showed 68 percent of voters say the U.S. should stay out of greater involvement in Syria because it’s a civil war and the U.S. could actually end up helping anti-American extremist groups. The poll showed that only 23 percent of voters think the U.S. should be more involved because it’s a humanitarian crises and Syria is strategically important country.

President Obama’s decision to arm Syrian rebels poses the risk of deepening U.S. military involvement in Syria.

The president’s decision to begin arming the rebels, comes as the Syrian government forces have been scoring military victories over the rebels. The decision came a day after the United Nations said nearly 93,000 people have been confirmed dead in the civil war.

The White House said it had conclusive evidence that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin on a small scale against opposition forces. The White House said multiple chemical attacks last year killed up to 150 people.

Obama has said the use of chemical weapons cross a “red line,” triggering U.S. involvement in the crisis. The Syrian government dismissed U.S. charges that it used chemical weapons as “full of lies,” accusing Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm the rebels. Russia, a staunch ally of Assad, disputed the U.S. charge that Syria used chemical weapons against the rebels.

Despite the president’s decision to increase military aid to Syrian rebels, there is increasing bipartisan pressure from members of Congress for the U.S. to engage in direct air strikes against the Syrian government in establishing a no-fly zone in that country.

The imposition of a no-fly zone could lead to a pretext for a full-scale air war in support of the rebels and the intervention of U.S.-led ground forces. This is why the president and Congress should take heed to what American voters are saying about not getting more involved in Syria.